JOB SEARCH TECHNIQUES
An effective job search is an important tool in building a successful career. There may be times
in your professional life when you need to simply ‘find a job’. However, a job seeker who
chooses a job related to his/her career goals will be better prepared to begin a career on the right
track. Preparing for and conducting an effective job search may seem like a lot of work but the
more prepared and efficient you are, the more likely you are to find a job you want and not
simply, a job.
Throughout this guidebook, we will focus on some of the key steps involved in conducting a
successful job search. A key component for a successful job search is effective career planning.
Therefore, we will also include some information on career planning and on the technique of
‘informational interviewing’, a career planning tool.
STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL JOB SEARCHING
Career Services has identified 5 key steps to effective job searching:
Step 1 ö Self Analysis
Step 2 ö Career Research
Step 3 ö Developing Job Search Materials
Step 4 ö Targeted Job Searching
Step 5 ö Follow-up
As you review this guidebook, you will find information on how to successfully navigate these
steps. Some of the steps mentioned above are covered in depth in other Career Services resources
or workshops. Where this is the case, alternate locations will be indicated for this information.
As you begin the job search process, you should consider compiling some of the information you
gather to create a resource called your ‘Portfolio’. Your portfolio is simply a collection of
information relevant to your career and job search.
Your Portfolio may be comprised of:
' Career Profile
• Personal profile • Career research
' Job Search Material
• Résumé and cover letters • Other documentation such as certificates,
• Samples of your work recommendation letters, etc.
' Networking Information
• Contact lists • Information on professional
• Follow-up information organizations and affiliations
The Traditional Job Search
For many job seekers, the job search involves applying to advertised job postings. This
traditional job search method usually involves:
T Newspaper/magazine ads T Job postings on job boards
T Completing applications T Sending out unsolicited résumés
T Registering with employment/ T Job posting websites
temporary agencies and recruiters
If you are conducting a traditional job search, you are missing as many as 75% of all possible
jobs. The traditional job search taps into only a small portion of the actual job market. The more
effective method of seeking employment is a non-traditional job search.
The Non-Traditional Job Search
The non-traditional job search is an informal job search.
The key to undertaking a successful non-traditional job search is to conduct an active job search.
If you have ever heard of the phrase, ‘the hidden job market’, you have heard of a non-traditional
Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC) reports that three out of every five
job postings are not listed in newspapers, on job boards or in electronic job markets. According
to this research, over 60% of job seekers reported locating jobs through the hidden job market
including personal contacts, networking and other methods
As you speak to people and research job search techniques, it becomes clear that the hidden job
market and a non-traditional job search can significantly increase your chances of locating
The Four Stages of a Job Opening
The successful job search process can take many forms and there is no one path which works for
all job seekers. To understand how to search for work effectively, it is important to understand
the evolution of most job openings.
Stage 1 - There is no job now Stage 2 - No formal opening exists, but
insiders know of the possibility
• Employers always look for good employees • The need is there, but not addressed
• Gain an inside track by making contacts • Someone is leaving but has not announced it
before there is a job opening to the supervisor or Human Resources
• Someone is about to be moved or fired
25% of jobs filled at this stage By stage 2, 50% of jobs are filled
Stage 3 - The job opening exists, but has Stage 4 - The job is advertised
not been advertised
• Human Resources may not even know of • Openings only reach this stage if not filled
openings at this stage previously
• Referrals and applications are encouraged, • Job is open to everyone, therefore increased
often received from insiders or contacts competition and fewer jobs left
By stage 3, 75% of jobs will be filled Only 25% of job openings reach this stage
adapted from The Very Quick Job Search, by M. Farr
If approximately 75% of all job openings are filled prior to being advertised, you can understand
why it may take longer to locate an appropriate job opportunity when conducting a traditional job
The key components of the non-traditional job search involve:
T Researching T Networking T Prospecting
As we examine the Steps involved in an effective job search, you will see why these components
are vital to your job search.
The Long Job Search Process
It is not uncommon to take several months to successfully target a job and gain employment.
That is not to imply that you cannot find a job quickly if you need one to pay the bills. However,
if you want to find a specific job in a specific industry or organization, it is not unrealistic to
expect the process to take between three and nine months in a good economy. It is not unrealistic
for a job seeker searching for a higher level position to spend six to 12 months before locating
the ‘right’ opportunity. That is why the earlier you begin, the better.
As a Laurier student or alumnus, you will find that many employers post jobs during the fall and
winter terms, even though the jobs may not begin until spring or summer of your graduation year.
If you are seeking a job following graduation, it is worth your time to begin an active job search
at the beginning of your final year.